Cardinals Lose at Trinity, 28-3

Photo by Lianne Yun '18
Photo by Lianne Yun '18

HARTFORD, Conn. – The Wesleyan University football team wrapped up its 2017 season Saturday as the Cardinals were defeated by Trinity College, 28-3, at Jessee/Miller Field. With the loss, Wesleyan finished its first nine-game season with a 6-3 record to complete its sixth-consecutive winning season. The Bantams defended their NESCAC title as they finished 8-1 on the year.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Trinity received the opening kickoff as both teams were forced to punt on their first drives.
  • On the Bantams' second drive of the game, QB Sonny Puzzo completed a 43-yard pass on third down to Koby Schofer, and two plays later Puzzo found Jonathan Girard—brother of Wesleyan's AJ Girard '18—near the right pylon in the end zone for the first score of the game.
  • Midway through the second quarter, Trinity got into the Wesleyan territory but Puzzo was picked off by Elias Camacho '18.
  • Wesleyan was unable to capitalize on the turnover and was kept off the board in the first half. Punter Sam Han '20 was terrific for the Cardinals in the first 30 minutes of action and placed two punts within the five-yard line.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Wesleyan took the opening kickoff of the second half down to the Trinity-6 yard line as it took 6:43 off the clock on 13 plays before Corey Phillips '17E put the visitor's on the board with a 23-yard field goal.
  • The Cardinals' defense stepped up and forced a three-and-out. Wesleyan made its way into the Bantams' territory but Piccirillo was picked off as his pass to Eric Meyreles '18 was tipped in the air by a defender and into John Medina's hands.
  • Trinity took advantage of the turnover as Puzzo capped off the six-play, 69-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass-and-catch to Girard for their second of the day as the Bantams went ahead 14-3.
  • Wesleyan received the kickoff and drove 69 yards down the field on nine plays in 4:18, but Piccirillo was intercepted by Matt Patry in the red zone. Trinity took over at its own-32 and went the length of the field as Puzzo faked a jet sweep and ran up the middle to increase the home team's lead to 21-3 with 7:15 remaining in regulation.
  • The Bantams essentially sealed the win on Wesleyan's ensuing drive as Dominique Seagears intercepted a pass on fourth down. He returned the pick for a touchdown but it was called back on a penalty. The next play, Puzzo found Girard at the one-yard line and on the next play, Schofer connected with Cliff David for the score.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Despite the loss, Wesleyan outgained Trinity 342-to-317 with 290 yards passing and 52 yards rushing. The Bantams threw for 229 yards, but one of the league's top rushing attacks managed just 88 yards on the ground.
  • The Cardinals also held a commanding 40:14-to-19:46 edge in time of possession.
  • Piccirillo went 28-of-44 for 290 yards including 41 yards rushing but was held scoreless for the first time this season. Breuler caught nine passes for 92 yards—just his third game this season under 100 yards receiving—and Evan Hull '18 and Girard caught 63 yards each with five and four catches, respectively. Brandon Morris '18 led all players with 11 tackles.
  • Breuler went 9-of-19 for 228 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 48 yards on six carries and a score. Max Chipouras, the NESCAC's leading rusher entering today's game, was held to just 41 yards on 19 carries. Girard led all players with four catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns and Shane Libby led the Bantams with 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:

  • The 2017 season was a historic one for junior quarterback Mark Piccirillo and senior wide receiver Mike Breuler. Piccirillo set an incredible 10 program records—total points scored in a season (44), total touchdowns in a season (24), total career touchdowns (42), touchdown passes in a season (20), completions in a game (39), completions in a season (232), passing yards in a season (2,643), consecutive passes in a game (11) and season (11), and total offense yards (3,117).
  • Breuler had an unbelievable senior season in which he led the country in receiving yards per game throughout the year and ranked either first or second in the nation in receptions per game. He finished with a program record 87 receptions this year while recording 1,167 yards and 10 touchdowns.